« VorigeDoorgaan »
this respect, we say, that sin merits punishment antecedently to every free act of the divine will, or to the divine constitution : or, if you would rather have it thus expressed; that it is just that God should inflict punishment, considered as. such on the transgressor, without regard to any free constitution; for, if without regard to such a constitution, sin be sin, and evil, evil; and unless it be so, to hate the greatest and best of beings, may be the highest virtue, and to love him the greatest vice; why may not punishment be due to it, without regard to such a consideration? 2. In punishment, the mode, time, and degree, are especially to be: considered : in respect of these, God punishes sin according to the divine constitution ; for the justice of God, only demanding punishment in general, as including in it the nature of punishment, nothing hinders but that God should freely appoint the mode and degree of it: he punishes them because it is just that he should do so; and consequently, indispensably necessary: he punishes, in one mode or in another, in one degree or in another; because, according to his wisdom he hath determined freely so to do. What we understand by modes and degrees of punishment, shall be afterward explained.
• But (says our celebrated antagonist), if disobedience thus deserves punishment, why should not obedience in like manner deserve a reward? for no reason to the contrary can be assigned. I wish this learned man had not so expressed himself; for he will never be able to prove that the relation between obedience, as to reward, and disobedience, as to punishment, is the same; for between obedience and the reward, there intervenes no natural obligation: God is brought under an obligation to no one, for any kind of obedience;. "for after we have done all, we are still unprofitable servants.': But God's right, that rational creatures should be subject to him, either by obedience or a vicarious punishment, is indispensable. In a word, obedience is due to God, in such a manner, that from the nature of the thing, he can be debtor to none, in conferring rewards : but disobedience would destroy all dependance of the creature upon God, unless a recompense be made by punishment.
The celebrated Vossius again reasons improperly, in the passage before quoted, from a comparison made between
justice and mercy. “The question is not,' says he'whether it be just that a satisfaction be received ; but whether it be unjust that it should not be received: for it doth not follow, that if God be merciful in doing one thing or another, that he would be unmerciful in not doing it.' I acknowledge, that it does not follow; for although mercy be natural to God, as to the habit, yet because there is no natural obligation between it and its proper object, it is, as to all its acts entirely free: but the nature of the thing, about which it is employed, is not indispensable; as we have shewn before to be the case with regard to justice. So much for the learned Twiss's second argument, with the consideration of it.
Twiss's third argument. A dispensation with regard to the punishment of
sin, what, and of what kind. The nature of punishment, and its circumstances. The instance of this learned opponent refuted. The considerations of rewarding and punishing, different.' How long, and in what sense God can dispense with the punishment due to sin. God the supreme governor of the Jewish polity: also, the Lord of all. The fourth argument of Twiss. The answer. Whether God can inflict punishment on an innocent person. In what sense God is more willing to do acts of kindness than to punish. What kind of willingness that assertion respects. The
conclusion of the answer to Twiss's principal arguments. The third argument in this: God can inflict a milder punishment than sin deserves; therefore, he can by his absolute power, suspend the punishment altogether.'
Ans. I answer, that the punishment which a sin deserves, may be considered in a twofold point of view. 1. As by means of it God compels to order a disobedient creature, that hath cast off its dependance on his supreme and natural dominion, in such a manner that his will may be done with that creature that is itself unwilling to do it: and in this point of view he cannot inflict a more mild punishment than sin deserves. Yea, properly speaking, in this respect it cannot be said to admit of degrees, either milder or more severe. And in this sense alone we deny the foregoing proposition. 2. It may be considered in this other point of view, viz. as God, for the greater manifestation of his glory,
such kind of benefits on a sinful creature, as are opposite to the punishment due to sin, without regard to Christ and his satisfaction: but that difference respects a will, commanding and exhorting according to morality, not decreeing or acting naturally.
And these are what this learned writer calls his principal arguments; in which he contends that God can let sin pass unpunished, without any satisfaction. I hope, that impartial judges, however great respect they may have for the name of Twiss, will not be offended, that I have made these short answers to his arguments, as certainly they have been conducted without violence or sarcasm, and by no means from
any weak desire of attacking so very illustrious a man, for whose many and great qualities, none can have a greater respect. But I have engaged in this task from an earnest desire of preserving, undiminished, the glory of divine justice, and of establishing the necessity of the satisfaction of Christ, lest the Socinians should wrest to their purpose the arguments of this learned man; on the principal of which they place a principal dependance, and by which they acknowledge that they have been induced to adopt heretical opinions.
Our very learned antagonist adds other arguments to these ; some of which have been satisfactorily answered by Maccovius; others belong not, according to our view of it, to the present controversy; and others will come to be considered in our vindication of the arguments of Piscator and Lubbertus, impugned by this celebrated writer, of which we shall take a short review; and therefore shall not now enter into any particular consideration of them.
The defence of Sibrandus Lubbertus against Twiss. The agreement of these
very learned men in á point of the utmost importance. A vindication of his argument from God's hatred against sin. Liberality and justice different. A sentiment of Lubbertus undeservedly charged with atheism.
What kind of necessity of operation we suppose in God: this pointed out. The sophistical reasoning of this learned writer. How God is bound to manifest any property of his nature. The reasons of Lubbertus and Twiss's objections to the same, considered. That passage of the apostle, Rom. i. 32. considered and vindicated. His amode of disputing rejected. The force of the argument from Rom. i. 32. The righteous judgment of God, what. Our federal representative, and those represented by him, are one mystical body. An answer to Twiss's arguments ; Exod. xxxiv. 7. The learned writer's answer respecting that passage. A defence of the passage. Punitory justice a name of God. Whether those for whom Christ hath made satisfaction, ought to be called guilty. Psal. v. 5-7. the sense of that passage considered. From these three passages
argument is one and the same. Lubbertus's argument from the definition of justice, weighed. How vindicatory justice is distinguished from universal. The natures of liberality and justice evidently different. Punishment belongs to God. In inflicting punishment, God vindicates his right. Will and necessity, whether they be opposite. The
end of the defence of Lubbertus. The learned Twiss, when about to reply to the arguments of Lubbertus, brings forward two assertions of his; to the first of which he consents, but not to the latter. The first maintains, 'corrective justice to be essential to God ;' which he approves: and herein we congratulate this very learned man, that thus far, at least, he assents to the truth; and in so doing hath given cause to the Socinians to grieve. But,
that it is natural to God to hate and punish sin;' which is Lubbertus's second assertion, he denies : the nicety of his discrimination here is truly astonishing: for what is God's hatred against sin, but this corrective justice? How then is it possible that that justice should be natural to God, and the hatred of sin not so likewise ? I very well know that the learned man will not allow that there is any such affection as hatred in God, properly so called. What is it then else than the constant will of punishing sin? but that is the very vindicatory justice of which we treat. Besides, if to hate, sin be not natural to God, then it is a thing free and indifferent to him: he may then not hate it; he may, according to the opinion of Scotus, formerly mentioned as approved by Twiss, will its contrary'; that is, he may love and approve of sin, though he be of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.' But, with good reason, he farther maintains, that 'mercy is essential to God, and yet that it is not necessary that he should shew mercy to any one; but of his free good pleasure he sheweth mercy to whomsoever he sheweth mercy,' We have again and again before shewn that justice and mercy, in respect of their exercise, are different: God is under no obligation to exercise mercy towards any one; but he owes it to himself to preserve his own natural right and dominion over his rational creatures: and the learned gentleman cannot shew that there is any such obligation, arising from the nature of the thing itself, between remunerating justice and liberality, on which he next insists, and their objects, as there is between corrective justice and its objects.
a Viz. Twiss's.
But he brings a grievous charge, no less than even that of atheism, against this sentiment of Lubbertus; and on a double account: for, first, he says, 'that hence it follows, that God is a necessary, and not a free agent:' and he calls that proposition, a spreading gangrene. 1. But theologians agree, and without any risk of atheism, that God is, in respect of his operations, within himself, a necessary agent, 2. If it be necessary that God should do any thing upon some condition supposed, is he therefore to be accounted a necessary, and not a free agent? Perhaps never any one hath made God more a necessary agent, than Twiss himself doth; for he every where maintains, that upon the supposition of a decree, it is necessary that God should do all things in conformity to it: which, however, I do by no means mention as finding fault with. Upon the supposition of a decree, for instance, God could not but create the world; but is he therefore to be called a necessary agent in the creation of the world ? by no means. But you will say, ‘that necessity flows from the free-will of God; but that which you dream of, arises from the principles of his nature; and therefore, how widely different! I willingly grant, indeed, that the decree of creating the world, flowed from the